Increased training often results in stronger memories but the neural changes responsible for these stronger memories are poorly understood. It is proposed here that higher levels of training that result in stronger memories recruit additional cell signaling cascades. This study specifically examined if c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1) is involved in the formation of stronger fear conditioning memories. Wildtype (WT), JNK1 heterozygous (Het), and JNK1 knockout (KO) mice were fear conditioned with 1 trial, 2 trials, or 4 trials. All mice learned both contextual (hippocampus-dependent) and cued (hippocampus-independent) fear conditioning but for contextual fear conditioning only, the JNK1 KO mice did not show higher levels of learning with increased trials. That is, WT mice showed a significant linear increase in contextual fear conditioning as training trials increased from 1 to 2 to 4 trials whereas KO mice showed the same level of contextual fear conditioning as WT mice for 1 trial training but did not have increased levels of contextual fear conditioning with additional trials. These data suggest that JNK1 may not be critical for learning but when higher levels of hippocampus-dependent learning occur, JNK1 signaling is recruited and is necessary for stronger hippocampus-dependent memory formation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience